# In a trinary system...

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#### ashish27

##### Guest
Just a crazy question..., <br /><br />Scientists are looking for earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of an extrasolar system hoping they may harbour life. My question is in a binary or trinary system (one that has 2 or 3 suns) what would be the ideal position of the habitable zone? <br /><br />I mean in a trinary system 3 suns radiate heat and light into space so the habitable zone of one sun may be irrelevant. The ideal habitable zone of such a system may be located in a positon that recieves exactly the right amount of heat and light from all suns combined.<br /><br />Imagine a Venn diagram of 3 sets X, Y, Z and if X, Y, Z are the area of influence of each star respectively then the habitable zone may be X intersection Y intersection Z !<br /><br />I've gone crazy I know <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" />

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
The real problem is such a system is to find a stable planetary orbit.<br />And that depends on the orbits of the 2 or 3 stars.<br /><br />Once you have such an orbit, then you can worry about how much heat it gets <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>

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#### jaxtraw

##### Guest
The other problem is how to make an orbiting planet stay in the area X intersect Y intersect Z <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />

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#### heyscottie

##### Guest
In a binary system, there are basically two possible setups that give stable orbits.<br /><br />1) The stars are very far apart, and the planet orbits relatively much closer in to one of the stars. In this case, you'd have a habitable zone just like in a single star.<br /><br />2) The planets are very close together, and the planet orbits the center of mass of the two stars relatively much further out than their orbital paths. The habitable zone would be more complex here, based on how close the two stars are.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
And what types of stars make up the pair. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>

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#### yevaud

##### Guest
Some three-body solutions are more or less stable. That would be two primaries and the planet. Either the two stars are less than 1 AU apart (fairly stable), or one star is distant enough from the other that perturbative effects on the planet are minimal (modestly stable).<br /><br />But: you're talking a four-body problem, and they appear to be not very stable. Over time, eventually a perturbation will eject one of the bodies. Which can also occur with the three-body problem as well. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>

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#### qso1

##### Guest
It would depend on how the stellar elements in the trinary are arranged as to distance. The most popular trinary is Alpha Centauri. The third element, Proxima Centauri is so far from the main two that its effects on any planets orbiting the other two would probably be almost unmeasurable. Same goes for planets orbiting Proxima being affected by Alpha "A" and/or B".<br /><br />Proxima is a much smaller element of the trinary, being a red dwarf.<br /><br />An earthlike world orbiting Alpha "A" would probably have a harsher climate than Earth due to higher orbital eccentricity resulting from the gravitational pull of Alpha "B". Check out the link below for Alpha, and any other trinaries you may run across.<br /><br />http://solstation.com/stars/alp-cent3.htm <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### alokmohan

##### Guest
Which of the three may harbour life?Frankly there is too much talk on earth like planets,the holy grail of astronomers.But stereo type discussions are carried on .

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#### qso1

##### Guest
The two main stars are most likely to harbor earthlike planets with complex life IMO. I'm one of those that focus on earthlike worlds because its what I see as that which will capture public imagination and get humanity on the path to interstellar travel.<br /><br />Humanity needs an attractive destination that has colonization potential. Otherwise, we may as well let robots do the exploring for us. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### alokmohan

##### Guest
But mars project may do good to humanity,we have second earth.

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#### qso1

##### Guest
We are far more likely to get to mars before we get to any extrasolar earths and I agree, mars will do good for humanity. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### alokmohan

##### Guest
After terraforming we can have a seperate inter planatory community.

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#### qso1

##### Guest
Sounds good to me. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### brellis

##### Guest
When DAWN reaches Ceres, Mars might take a back seat for awhile.<br /><br />Ceres probably has more water ice than Earth's oceans, there are lots of interesting possibilities for mining/exploiting the asteroid belt, and it's that much closer to the outer planets as a relay for sample-returns and further exploration. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#ff0000"><em><strong>I'm a recovering optimist - things could be better.</strong></em></font> </p> </div>

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#### qso1

##### Guest
I think thats going to have a lot of value along the lines of capturing public imagination. That is, seeing a large asteroid like Ceres up close for the first time. Hopefully one day the private sector will venture out to the asteroid belt and see about exploiting the resources there.<br /><br />I tend to look at mars as the place to do research for indigeounous microbiological life forms or fossilized evidence thereof and the asteroid belt as the place to exploit resource for industrial use. And like you said, the belt is a good place for sample return relay from the outer planets. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### mithridates

##### Guest
Yeah, plus more frequent launch windows and no dust storms to interfere with gathering electricity. Shorter night to get through too and very little seasonal variation. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>----- </p><p>http://mithridates.blogspot.com</p> </div>

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#### ashish27

##### Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>The other problem is how to make an orbiting planet stay in the area X intersect Y intersect Z <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />haha, can be a problem for you but not for God if He/She decides to put lifeforms there! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />

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#### ashish27

##### Guest
Thanks qso for the link. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />

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#### jaxtraw

##### Guest
I personally think we should stop thinking of Ceres as a large asteroid. It's a small world, as they say <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> More like a moon without a primary.<br /><br />It's in the asteroid belt, but I think it'll be as different from the asteroids as, say, Enceladus is from Pan.<br /><br />FWIW, I also predict Vesta will be a bit of a bore, which may unfortunately cause people to lose interest in the Very Slow Space Probe's mission.

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#### qso1

##### Guest
Ceres will be interesting visually because it is much rounder (As seen in Hubble images) than asteroids we have seen so far and I expect it will have some pretty rough features, mountains, craters. I suspect both asteroids will hold public attention until O.J. or Britney does something else that gets them press coverage. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### qso1

##### Guest
My pleasure. That link is one of the best I've seen for information on the major star systems. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>

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#### alokmohan

##### Guest
God does not put any life anywhere.Of course intelligent design men claim so.In scientific discussions we should avoid god.It is opposed to reason.

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#### brellis

##### Guest
One of the people who proposed DAWN in the first place said in an interview that the ice (<i>editn Ceres</i>) is probably 60 miles thick! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#ff0000"><em><strong>I'm a recovering optimist - things could be better.</strong></em></font> </p> </div>

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#### alokmohan

##### Guest
Giuseppe Piazzi (July 7, 1746 - July 22, 1826) was an Italian Theatine monk, mathematician, and astronomer. He was born in Ponte in Valtellina, and died in Naples. He established an observatory at Palermo, now the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo "Giuseppe S. Vaiana".<br /><br />On January 1, 1801, Piazzi discovered a stellar object that moved against the background of stars. At first he thought it was a fixed star, but once he noticed that it moved, he became convinced it was a planet, or as he called it, "a new star".<br /><br />In his journal, he wrote: "The light was a little faint, and of the colour of Jupiter, but similar to many others which generally are reckoned of the eighth magnitude. Therefore I had no doubt of its being any other than a fixed star. In the evening of the second I repeated my observations, and having found that it did not correspond either in time or in distance from the zenith with the former observation, I began to entertain some doubts of its accuracy. I conceived afterwards a great suspicion that it might be a new star. The evening of the third, my suspicion was converted into certainty, being assured it was not a fixed star. Nevertheless before I made it known, I waited till the evening of the fourth, when I had the satisfaction to see it had moved at the same rate as on the preceding days."<br /><br />In spite of his assumption that it was a planet, he took the conservative route and announced it as a comet. In a letter to astronomer Barnaba Oriani of Milan he made his suspicions known in writing:<br /><br />"I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to the public." <br />He was not able to observe it long enough as it was soon lost in the glare of the Sun. Unable to compute its orbit with ex

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